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Serhii Khrychikov
:   2003-05-22 15:32:54

Thanks a lot for publishing this great article, which highlights the key challenge that the Ukrainian higher education system also faces to modernize in order to be capable of responding to the needs of society.
I would, however, slightly disagree with the introductory statement by Oleksandr Savruk. Although I appreciate the importance of individual initiative in the process of the education reform, I believe we should also recognize serious institutionally constructed limits to individual actions. To blame people for their inability to resist individually to the pressure of ineffective systems is similar to blaming the poor for their poverty. University staff are functioning within a complex institutional setting, which shapes the patterns of their behavior. People cannot simply withdraw from this setting and act in a way they like without bearing consequences for their actions. A person can write a wonderful dissertation or design the most innovative course, but if the dissertation does not fit into a field of competence of a particular "scientific council" or if the course contradicts the requirements of the "state standard", these efforts will bring no rewards to this person. Very few people can consistently resist the system and although their positions deserve the utmost respect and highest praise, it would be too nave to expect that their sole actions are likely to generate profound systemic changes to the system. Unless, a radical reform introduces a new model of higher education, the effect of efforts of those rare individuals will be extremely limited.
What is important, though, is to merge the efforts of those, who are ready and willing to challenge the existing system in order to help develop an alternative model. When this group become a part of the environment in which higher education functions, it will give a strong signal to people in not-so-powerful regional universities that institutional change is forthcoming. Then, the chances of individual non-conformist actions becoming a commonplace practice will definitely grow.

(Sorry for writing in English)

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